Cyanide Heap Leaching Problems at Elk City, Idaho

by David H. Fortier, US Dep of the Interior, Bureau of Land, Management, Coeur d'Alene, ID, USA,
Gary Wright, US Dep of the Interior, Bureau of Land, Management, Coeur d'Alene, ID, USA,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management in the Eighties

Abstract: A cyanide heap leaching operation for gold recovery was started in 1983 above the water intake for the community of Elk City in north central Idaho which turned into a problem during the winter and spring runoff period in 1984. The project design and construction are described along with some of the events and problems, and how they were handled by the operator and agencies. The project brought a unique heap leaching design approach based on good ideas into a different environment and hydrologic regime. The project although envisioned to be very environmentally safe has turned into a very expensive hazardous site cleanup operation. Although the community has not had any serious effects, things could have been handled better.

Subject Headings: Leaching | Urban areas | Water reclamation | Water intakes | Occupational safety | Winter | Idaho | North America | United States

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